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Thursday, July 15, 2010, 07:10 pm PT (10:10 pm ET)

iPhone 4 antenna issues due to 'weakness' in software, may be fixable - NYT

Reception problems with the iPhone 4 are a result of "longstanding" problems also found in previous-generation iPhones, but the issue could potentially be fixed by a software fix, The New York Times reported Thursday evening.

Citing a person with "direct knowledge" of the design of the iPhone 4, author Miguel Helft wrote that the problems experienced by users are a result of a "longstanding weakness" found in the "basic communications software" found in all iPhones. The reception problems, that source said, were not a result of a single hardware flaw.

"Instead, the problems emerged in the complex interaction between specialized communications software and the antenna, said the person, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter," the report said.

It continued: "The person said the problems were longstanding but had been exposed by the design of the iPhone 4. All cellphones can be affected by the way a hand grips the phone, but well-designed communications software compensates for a variety of external factors and prevents calls from dropping, the person said."

The Times also said that the error could "presumably be fixed with a software update," and that it "appears" unrelated to the software issue patched earlier Thursday, through the release of iOS 4.0.1.

Helft was also informed by the anonymous source that Apple would not announce a recall at its press conference scheduled for Friday, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. That reiterated an earlier report from The Wall Street Journal, which also reported a full-fledged recall is not in the cards.

The source who spoke with the Times also indicated that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs did not learn of the software problem until after the iPhone 4 shipped. That is in contrast to a report from earlier Thursday by Bloomberg, which alleged that Jobs was personally informed of the issue last year by Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert with Apple. Apple also officially denied that rumor to the Journal.